Matamata Veterinary Services | Latest News

Latest News

Arthritis in Pets

June 12, 2014

Arthritis in pets is similar to that seen in people, caused by a degeneration of the joint, where the cartilage is worn away leading to inflammation and pain. Arthritis is extremely common in our pets, effecting 1 in 5 dogs, and 3 in 10 cats.

Causes of arthritis are previous injuries, inherited diseases such as hip dysplasia, or less commonly immune mediated joint disease or joint infections.   Arthritis isn’t just confined to older pets, as injuries, ruptured ligaments, and degenerative arthritis can occur in young animals. Large breed dogs are more commonly effected than small dogs and heavy animals are more likely to be effected due to the strain placed on ligaments.

Signs that dogs may show.

  • Limp or show stiffness especially when getting up after resting.
  • Reluctance to play and walk
  • Behavioural changes, reduced interaction with people or aggression
  • Have difficulty getting into the car or have trouble climbing stairs.
  • Cold and damp signs increase the pain and stiffness

Signs that cats may show

  • Use a chair or stool to jump up on table or couch
  • Play less frequently and spend more time sleeping
  • Hesitance or slow to climb stairs
  • Hesitance to jump off high surfaces

It is not possible to cure arthritis but there are many ways to help manage and treat that substantially improve the pain and quality of life. Providing a soft deep bed in a warm area and maintaining ideal body weight are easy ways to provide relief. Swimming dogs is a great way to provide exercise without overstressing the joints and can help with weight loss. Regular moderate exercise is beneficial because it helps maintain muscles and flexibility.

Medications such as chondroitin, glucosamine, deer velvet and shark cartilage can help repair joint cartilage and prevent further damage. Pain relief medications help improve your pet’s quality of life and improve movement.

If you think your pet shows any of the signs above please, don’t hesitate to get some advice on how best to make them more comfortable and mobile.